PNW Day 2: Deschutes [Meadowcamp]

Woke up for day two and packed up for a couple days down through Oregon. The night before we had decided that the best option was to head south to follow the water as it was generally dry where we were. The eventual destination chose was the Klamath with a stop along the was to boat in Bend, Oregon. We were drawn in by the Deschutes which runs through downtown Bend. We had mostly finished up packing and Todd and I headed over to the Outdoorplay warehouse to see if I could find a replacement backband for my boat. They luckily had one in stock and were willing to help me out and sell me one direct from their warehouse. While acquiring the needed supplies a double rainbow appeared over the Columbia River, signs it would be a good day.

Deschutes River south of Warm Springs on US-26

That being done we headed back to the highway to meet back up with Dave and Matt. Once we had gathered them we proceeded to route 97 to head south, through nothingness and on to Bend. We passed through a small town in the desert that was at the upper reaches of the Deschutes. Around this time Todd and I realized we were running low on gas and this was probably the last gas station for a while (about 47 miles). We conferred and Dave though we could make it and the gas would be cheaper so we continued on. As the gauge decreased our apprehension increased.  Relief came when we neared the town but is was short lived as the engine cut out about two miles outside of town. After a short wait Dave and Matt had a gas can and we were mobile again and heading to Bend.

We pulled into Bend and shortly after leaving the highway we got to the take out. The water was flat and there were a multitude of people on SUPs. Upon getting to the put in, we discovered our chosen access point (a park, for the shortcamp variant) had been paved over to build a development along the river. After some deliberation we decided to follow a fence at the edge of the development down to the river. The hike was a bit of a painful traipse through bushes and brambles. Once on the river we were greeted by signs warning of dangerous falls and a trail on the other side of the fence that looked like a proper access point.

The river narrowed to a nice gorge and we came to the entrance rapid which was a series of drops with nice size holes that one could eddy hop down. Our initial impression was that it seemed a little bigger than class IV. After a short bit of moving flat we came to an intake structure and drop. After a bit we decided to go down the left side. I felt it was good to go this route as I could see down it from my boat. I ended up drying out on a rock as I cut my way back to the center. As soon as I hit the main flow I got rocketed forward at full speed. Missed the eddy I wanted to catch below a little tree on a rock and had to run the second half of the rapid. Todd’s line was even less clean. He got hung up on a rock, then flipped by another in the second half.

After this rapid came a fairly busy and difficult boulder garden. Dodged down and the second half was particularly busy. It had a number of holes one after another to weave through. David got flipped towards the end, and during one role attempt got knocked back down by a hole just as he was coming up. After a swim and recovery it was discovered that his paddle had broken. While not in two, it was still less than ideal to use. Todd decided to use it and in the next rapid it broke and he started to C1. At the next rapid it was decided that we should break out the break down. It turned out to be a one of the friendlier rapids, though still probably more than one would want with one blade.

That turned out to be the last rapid and we made our way to the take out where we were once again greeted by a gaggle of SUPers. David ran quickly to get a new paddle at the kayak shop in town. Once we had collected everything, we headed there as well. We asked one of the guys there about the rapids and learned that the line we had take in the second rapid, which we now know is Dammit, was not the standard line. The drop in the middle is clean and people typically boof down the first part and the rest is clean. With this new knowledge we headed to take a peek at the whitewater park. Had a series of waves, one nice and glassy with a number of surfers. A lone kayaker was having fun on the bottom wave.

Whitewater park, lone kayaker in the distance

After grabbing dinner at Zydeco, we continued to head south on US-97. During dinner we decided that it was best to modify our plan and head to Klamath Falls instead of Crater Lake to camp as it would be 10 degrees warmer at night. After some time we rolled into the KOA, set up camp, and headed to sleep.

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